Good Or Bad?

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Eat this. Don’t eat that. 

If I had a dollar for every time a news report or a doctor told us that something we love was no longer good for us or visa versa…

How are we supposed to ‘eat healthy’ when every other day someone changes the rules about what we consume? Eat fruit and vegetables (but not if they’ve been sprayed with pesticide). Eat organic and natural (but only certain brands). Red meat is good… red meat is bad.

Make up your mind already.

All I know for sure is that dark chocolate keeps coming out on the positive side. So, I think it’s safe to say we should all just indulge in plenty of that!

 

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Home Cooking Demise

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With all the new cooking shows currently on TV, you’d think any person watching would be like ‘a child in a candy store.’ But, if that person happened to be me, you’d be sadly mistaken.

I was never a great cook but the meals I prepared were pretty good. I certainly never poisoned anyone. But I also, for instance, never learned how to make a turkey. Why should I? Mom always had that particular honor (still does) and, ‘if it ain’t broken, why fix it?’

My parents now get meals-on-wheels a few days a week because even Mom doesn’t feel like cooking anymore. And, when visiting friends, why bake a dessert to bring over when they make exceptional ones in your average, local supermarket? I just don’t see the point.

So, if I can get away with buying already-prepared food from any other source (as long as it’s reasonably priced), I’m doing it!*

 

*In full disclosure… I DID bake cookies and cupcakes for my kids’ bake sales and classroom celebrations for years.

The Hard Lesson

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For most of us, society has always dictated a strict work ethic:

  • “Work, work, work.”
  • “All work and no play.”
  • “Work now… There’ll be plenty of time to rest when you’re dead.”

But somewhere along the way ideals changed. Maybe it was because of poor health or maybe you finally realized what’s really important. Or, possibly, you now fully understand what “you can’t take it with you” means.

The fact that more and more adults now go to yoga classes; join reading or cooking groups and color just for relaxation says a lot about the way we now view our lives. There’s no right or wrong choice but, in the end, it is your choice so choose wisely!

Don’t Judge Me

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In today’s society, we often act as our own worst critic. We have something to say about everything – the way people look or talk or smell or walk. It’s as if the whole world is a stage and we are the judges. Thanks to the glut of Reality TV, we now critique looks, talent, strength and even cooking ability.

But when an opinion is expressed about us or our behavior, we take it personally and feel the need to justify any negativity. We no longer have as thick a skin as we once did – or maybe we’re just so tired of hearing it all the time that we immediately go on the defensive.

At a certain age, people tend to believe that that, alone, allows them the freedom to express their anger or frustration because they’ve lived a long, hard life. Not so. In reality, what it does is allow us to see into our own futures and, hopefully, grant us the compassion to withhold that judgment and to acknowledge the gifts that all those years of living have bestowed!

Which Costs More?

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I don’t know when it is, exactly, that a person stops wanting things. Maybe if you grew up in times of war or depression, you were accustomed to doing without. We are such an entitled generation that we take most everything for granted. Sadly, we ‘expect’ rather than ‘desire.’

When we’re small it’s always, “gimme, gimme, gimme.” When we’re a bit older it’s, “I want,” “I need,” “I’m the only one who doesn’t have…” We sound like a bunch of spoiled brats. But, more often than not, our whining gets us exactly what we want.

Fortunately, at some point (usually when WE start paying for our own food, clothing, rent, gas), we get it. That’s when we have to start looking at the prices of things as well as the balance in our checkbooks (okay, we don’t really use checkbooks anymore but you know what I mean…).

So, now we begin a new chapter in our financial history book called: “Which costs more?” 

  • Dine out or cook in?
  • Movieplex or movie rental?
  • Vacation or stay-cation?
  • Bookstore or Library?

And then it hits us. The big divide between what we think we need and what we can actually afford. That’s not to say that we must give up all essentials – only those little ‘extras’ that we didn’t really need in the first place!

All For One

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My parents and I are getting quite proficient at living together. I wouldn’t say we’re at that ‘finishing-each-others-sentences’ stage but we are becoming rather skillful at saving both time and money.

Case in point… the three of us can go out to dinner for less than $20 and still manage to take home enough food for another meal. Here’s how:

Mom and I usually split one meal so we fill up on the salad bar and add what’s leftover to our take-home container. Then we split the entree in half – she eats like a bird, anyway, so I just fill up on the fries (or rice or baked potato) and that leaves about half the main course for home.

Dad eats pretty much everything in sight – and that includes a few helpings from the salad bar, too. But he’s definitely part of the equation because we use a ‘buy-one-get-one-half-off’ deal. So he plays an integral part in our musings.

Now here’s where the time saved comes in. Mom’s really starting to hate cooking so, with a good enough deal on the table, she’s more than willing to go out to eat for two reasons:

1. No cooking today
2. No cooking (just reheating) tomorrow.

That’s because, as I previously mentioned, Mom eats like a bird – a featherlight bird – and can get by with a yogurt or some PB crackers for dinner. Dad’s the one that’ll inevitably scarf down the take-home meal. So… Win. Win. One for all and all for one!

Crock Pot Capers

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Today I’m using my limited cooking skills to prepare a pot roast dinner for my parents. All I have to do is:

  • Put in the meat
  • Pour on the sauce
  • Cover and Turn on

Voila! Dinner is served. Well, almost… Now I have two choices to make:

1) Cook on high for 4 hours OR

2) Cook on low for 8 hours

If it was up to me I would choose the former. But parents of a certain age and from a certain generation have different ideas about modern cooking techniques. For instance, “what if it gets too hot?” I’m pretty sure these pots are pretested so that they don’t catch on fire or blow up or anything. Also, “is it safe to leave the pot plugged in when I’m not at home?” Considering I was planning on turning the pot on before I left for work so that it would be finished cooking and ready to serve by the time I returned home, I guess I understand their concern. However, did I mention that my parents would be home during the entire cooking process? So, really, the whole dilemma is pretty much moot, right?

Also, it says right on the front of the bag: JUST ADD BEEF.

So, why am I being asked if I added potatoes and carrots to the pot? If the bag instructed me to: ADD BEEF, POTATOES AND CARROTS, I suppose I would have done just that. But it didn’t. So I didn’t. Now we have a brand new dilemma. My solution would be to bake some potatoes in the oven or boil them on top of the stove along with a bag of pre-cut carrots. But that would mean I’d have to come home from work and start cooking all over again and that’s SO NOT what I had in mind.

Instead, I told Mom to feel free to wash and bake the potatoes and cut and peel some carrots and boil them while the meat is cooking. “Nah. That’s okay,” she told me. She’s perfectly happy to let me do the cooking, my way – just as long as I remember to add the potatoes and the carrots to the crock pot so they come out all cooked and flavorful from the meat. Ugh. 

Next time I decide to make a simple dinner for my parents, I’ll do it the old fashioned way… I’ll have it delivered!